There will be a hair under 596mn connected TV sets worldwide by 2017, up from 105mn at the end of 2010 and the 212mn expected for this year, according to a new report from UK firm Digital TV Research.
The US is expected to remain in the driving seat over this five year period, although its share will likely drop from 45% of the global total in 2010 (with 48mn sets) to 37% in 2012 (78mn) and 25% of the total in 2017 (147mn).
China meanwhile is expected to have 93mn connected TVs by 2017, up from a mere 2mn at the end of 2010. This means that Japan will drop from second place in 2010 (13mn) to third in 2017 (43mn).
This global connected TV total translates to 21.4% of global TV sets by 2017, up from only 4.7% at end-2010 and 8.9% by end-2012.
The US will have the highest penetration of TV sets by 2017 – at 38.1%, closely followed by Norway (37.7%) and South Korea (37.2%).
Report author Simon Murray said: “There has been something of a backlash against smart TV sets over the last year as critics argue that similar – or even better – offers are available on tablets or even mobile smartphones.
“Critics complain that connected TV sets provide a clunky experience. Although this is a wake-up call for those involved in the sector, these deficiencies are likely to be addressed reasonably soon as connected TV becomes mainstream. Unsurprisingly, the bulk of online usage via connected TVs is TV-related.”
While games consoles have hitherto been the most popular way of connecting a TV set to the Internet (accounting for 57% of the 2010 total), connected TV sets are expected to overtake consoles in late 2012, and account for 41% of the 2017 total.
Digital TV Research also addresses the thorny issue of how many of these TV sets are actually being hooked up to the Internet: there are expected to be 31mn installed connected TV sets by end-2010, and this total is forecast to rocket to 84mn by end-2012 and onto 243mn by 2017.
Despite being overtaken by connected sets in late 2012, the number of connected games consoles will continue to rise significantly (reaching 138.4mn by 2017, up from 82.2mn at end-2012).